Your practice just hit a fork in the road, and it needs to make a decision one way or another:

  1. You’re either growing at an alarming rate and no longer have the available hours or staff to manage your practice and keep up with the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing.
  2. You’re stagnating, in which case you can’t keep a consistent flow of new and returning patients coming through the door, month over month.
  3. (sigh) You’re losing business and every time you look into the waiting room an empty seat greets you with a long, cushioned smile.
  4. You’re just starting your practice and don’t know where to turn for new patients.

… you need help.

It’s time to make a decision. Should you hire a marketing agency for your medical practice or bring someone in-house? The real question—what it all comes down to—is, if you opt for an agency, will the expense actually help you grow your medical practice and reach your goals?

The short answer: it depends.

Ugh, I know. The dreaded, “It depends.”

But it’s not always an easy answer, which is why I created the Hiring a Marketing Agency For Your Medical Practice: Buyer’s Guide. 

This guide will help bring clarity to your impending decision on whether or not to hire an agency for your medical practice. And, when you’re finished reading it, you’ll have the confidence to make the right decision, either way.

Let’s get started.

CHAPTER 1: WHEN DOES YOUR MEDICAL PRACTICE NEED TO HIRE A MARKETING AGENCY?

In the first chapter of this guide, I’ll explore which questions you need to ask yourself and your staff before you even consider making an informed decision on whether or not to begin your search for a marketing agency:

  • What are your goals?
  • Can you do it in-house?
  • Can you track progress and understand the data?
  • Will you understand what went wrong?

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

First and foremost, identify your marketing goals and attach honest and realistic expectations to them.

•   Are you looking to rank higher for important search queries? If so, you’ll need a team that knows its way around search engine algorithms and can chart a course toward the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages).

•   Are you looking to create an emotional connection with your existing patients? If so, you’ll need to craft compelling stories that sow the seeds of empathy.

•   Maybe your website is outdated, no longer reflects your business standards, and doesn’t do very well at converting website traffic. If so, perhaps a new website will do the trick.

•   Or, maybe you just want to increase your bottom line, and you don’t care where the traffic comes from (which means you have less control over where it DOES come from), just as long as it’s profitable and converts.

Before you can determine whether or not to hire an agency for your medical practice, establish clear goals and write them all on a piece of paper (or, since you’re a doctor, it’s probably best you type them out).

Agencies specialize in a myriad of services, so knowing which areas your practice needs the most help in will help you identify which agency, if any, fits the bill.

CAN YOU DO IT IN-HOUSE?

Once you decide on your goals and needs, the next question to ask is whether or not you can handle the work in-house. If you plan on doing it yourself, then ask yourself if you really want another job in addition to your career.

If no one on your staff has a clue how Google ranks websites, you probably need to hire a professional to improve your rankings and get you on the first page. However, if you have a marketing director on staff who is a seasoned in local SEO, you won’t need to hire an agency for this.

Always consider the quality of work and the expertise required for success. Bringing marketing in-house means you have to do your own research and execute your own strategy. This also means you have to know what you’re doing.

CAN YOU TRACK PROGRESS AND UNDERSTAND THE DATA?

If you decided you can, in fact, bring your marketing in-house, then ask yourself if you can identify and track key performance indicators and turn data into actionable deliverables that satisfy your marketing goals.

Many physicians and private practices that handle their own marketing efforts become frustrated with a lack of results and/or an inability to decipher the data to determine what’s not working.

Just posting stuff to your Facebook feed or putting up a directory listing once or twice a month is not enough to effectively compete in the digital space. If you can’t see any data or don’t understand what you’re reading, it can be nearly impossible to adjust your efforts for better results. A large part of success on the web is keeping a watchful eye on the data and using it to formulate an ongoing strategy.

You may find that you can execute certain marketing tasks in-house, but have no way of gauging or tracking the results of these efforts (which often invalidates them). An agency partner is the responsible party in these situations and can help bring clarity and understanding to your digital presence.

WILL YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WENT WRONG?

Let’s say you do have a competent in-house marketing staff—your wife’s nephew is a whizkid perhaps—and he can execute and monitor your digital marketing efforts. If your traffic suddenly drops one month or you plummet off the face of Google, will you and your team have the experience or insight to determine what happened and how to fix it?

This is the final sticking point for many medical practices that handle their own social media, SEO, and ongoing marketing efforts. They can get it all setup and running, maybe even make sense of the analytics, but when things aren’t going well and they can’t figure out why, the panic and frustration set in.

FINAL THOUGHTS?

Committing to a digital marketing program can certainly be done in-house, but it’s often costly and accompanied by significant risk. If you don’t have the internal resources to accomplish your marketing goals, and access to experienced professionals, an agency partner is likely a better option for you and your medical practice. But don’t make your decision just yet…

This guide isn’t meant to discourage you from bringing your marketing in-house, it’s meant to encourage you to ask the right questions (all of them) before you make your final decision, whether that be to “hire or fire.” So finish this guide, all six chapters, and then make the decision that will positively affect the future of your medical practice.

What Next?

•   Read Chapter 2: “The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Marketing Agency For Your Medical Practice.” 

•   Like what you read? Awesome. Share this chapter with your colleagues.

•   Or download the entire six chapters of Hiring A Marketing Agency For Your Medical Practice”

Drew Leahy

Director Of Marketing

Incredible Marketing

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